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Volume 38 (2024): Issue 3 (May 2024)

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Front Office Fantasies: The Rise of Managerial Sports Media

Michael White

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Assessing the Effect of COVID-19 Lockdown on Perceived Barriers and Facilitators to Physical Activity Among Women in Southeast England

Katherine Paice, Hannah Hersant, Shannah Anico, and Elizabeth Smith

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in restricting daily physical activity (PA). Women’s PA levels have been disproportionately negatively affected by the pandemic, compared with men. It is important to determine how women’s PA has changed over the pandemic, and if new barriers to PA participation exist since the release of restrictions. Aims: To assess how women in southeast England changed their activity during the pandemic and postpandemic, including how barriers and facilitators to activity have changed. Methods: Three hundred and thirty females completed the first online questionnaire (during lockdown), and 139 completed the postlockdown questionnaire. Questionnaires were designed from the General Practice Physical Activity Questionnaire and International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Participants self-reported PA, and barriers and facilitators to exercise. Eighteen females then participated in online semistructured focus groups. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used for questionnaire data, and focus group transcriptions were thematically analyzed. Results: Most females maintained PA levels throughout the pandemic. Significant barriers to activity were lack of access to equipment/space, limited time to exercise, limited access to social groups, and finances as well as legal restrictions, safety concerns, gender, and lack of childcare. Similarly, significant facilitators were identified during lockdown and postlockdown for access to equipment, finances, having more time to exercise, and exercising with a social group. Participants both expressed desires to return to prelockdown PA habits, but also maintain new ones that were created. Conclusion: It is evident that the pandemic affected and changed the barriers and facilitators to female PA participation. Governments and industries in the sector should focus on providing services that address these changing habits to improve activity levels in women.

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Soccer’s Neoliberal Pitch: The Sport’s Power, Profit, and Discursive Politics

Luke Mashburn

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Strengthening Whole-of-School Physical Activity Models to Promote Physical Literacy: Moving Beyond a Component Approach

Paul Rukavina and Patricia Gremillion-Burdge

Whole-of-school approaches to physical activity and health promotion have the potential to promote physical literacy. However, for a variety of reasons there has not been widespread adoption of component whole-of-school frameworks to guide schools, such as the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program. We argue that component frameworks have shortcomings and do not necessarily assist or support schools to take an approach that is consistent with how successful whole-of-school models or programs are created and built over time. In this paper, we argue that we need to apply guidance that resonates with stakeholders and stimulates schools to design their own unique whole-of-school physical activity model to provide equitable programming opportunities. We also present an argument on the need to incorporate improvement science and the use of social–ecological models to investigate the efficacy of this guidance model.

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A Case Study of Marcus Rashford: The People’s Champion, a “National Treasure,” and an Inspirational Personal Brand

John Vincent, John Harris, John S. Hill, and Melvin Lewis

This case study examined the English soccer player Marcus Rashford’s personal brand and illustrates the transformational difference celebrity athletes can make through social activism and advocacy for philanthropic causes through their skillful use of social media. It employed a textual analysis methodology and drew conceptual insights from the revised Model of Athlete Brand Image to chronicle how Rashford’s social activism and philanthropy resonated with his fans, followers, and the public on social media. His authentic social activism and philanthropic advocacy for disadvantaged and vulnerable children gave the nation a “feel-good” story during the COVID-19 crisis and enhanced his personal brand image. This case study recommends that future analyses of celebrity athlete personal brands should consider including three new categories in the marketable life section of the revised Model of Athlete Brand Image: social activism, cobranding partnerships, and awards and honors.

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BLinG-Health: A Peer-Led Physical Activity Program for Black Adolescent Girls—A Pilot Study

Tara B. Blackshear and Taylor Baucum

Background: Culturally relevant approaches that address low physical activity rates among Black girls are increasing, yet opportunities to engage in physical activity (PA) remain minimal. Coupled with deficit approaches to school-based PA programming, positioning Black adolescent girls as PA leaders is missing from practice. BLinG-Health aims to develop peer leaders to participate in and deliver group fitness sessions in an after-school PA program. Methods: Black adolescent girls engaged in a culturally relevant, 8-week pretest and posttest quasi-experimental pilot study examining the impact of a peer-led school-based PA intervention program in a Baltimore, Maryland, public school. After peer leaders engaged in a 12-hr fitness education, training, and certification program using the Interactive Fitness Trainers of America’s Tabata group fitness instruction and certification series, peer leaders led classmates in group fitness 2–3 days a week for 8 weeks. Peer leaders and participants completed two assessment rounds at baseline and Week 9, including height and weight, to compute body mass index, waist circumference, hip circumference, hip-to-waist ratio, a 12-min run/walk, and push-up test. Results: Participants (n = 7; M age = 16.43 years) significantly improved in cardiovascular endurance (p = .025) and muscular endurance (p = .013) with modest, nonsignificant changes in anthropometric measures. Discussion: Challenging deficit narratives on Black girls’ PA engagement, participants consistently attended weekly group fitness sessions and improved cardiovascular and muscular fitness. Empowering Black adolescent girls to lead group fitness sessions among peers may enhance PA engagement. Schools should consider culturally relevant programming to increase Black girls’ opportunities to engage in PA.

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Increasing Sport Fans’ Receptivity to Sustainability Messaging Through the Enhancement of Brand Authenticity

Chanwook Do, Minjung Kim, Brian P. McCullough, Han Soo Kim, and Hyun-Woo Lee

Brand authenticity is a crucial concept in determining a continuing relationship between a team and its fans. To better understand brand authenticity in the sport industry, this study explored how professional sport teams’ brand authenticity can be enhanced by its antecedents and what is the role of brand authenticity on fan loyalty, ultimately enhancing receptivity to environmental sustainability messaging. A total of 349 fans of the National Football League participated in an online survey. This research employed structural equation modeling to examine the relationships among the eight main constructs in the hypothesized research model. The results indicated that the five predictors positively influenced the team’s brand authenticity. Furthermore, enhanced brand authenticity impacted fan loyalty, while receptivity to environmental sustainability messaging was affected by fan loyalty and environmental sustainability attitude. The findings demonstrate how sport organizations can increase fans’ receptivity to environmental sustainability messaging through fans’ perceived brand authenticity and loyalty.

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Tackling International Markets: Bicultural Brand Positioning of Sport Leagues in Foreign Countries

Christian Weisskopf and Sebastian Uhrich

As sport league brands have increasingly extended their marketing activities into foreign countries, international brand positioning has become a relevant research topic. In this research, we introduce and examine the concept of bicultural brand positioning, an approach that combines a sport league’s connection to its home country with target-country associations. We integrate bicultural identity theory with the literature on brand benefits to propose two types of bicultural brand positioning: functional versus symbolic. Three experiments, using the National Football League and German satellite fans as the empirical context, provide evidence that bicultural brand positioning incorporating functional (vs. symbolic) benefits for the satellite fans increases bicultural brand image integration, defined as the perceived compatibility of combining the two country cultures, and has positive indirect effects on intentions to use the brand and positive word of mouth. These effects are driven by increased perceptions of cultural authenticity of the brand and brand convenience.

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Front Office Fantasies: The Rise of Managerial Sports Media

Luke L. Mao